Posts Tagged ‘Bradley Stoke Green Gym’

Conservation group review of the year

Posted on Monday 15th January 2018 at 10:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of volunteers from the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group taking a tea break.

By Sara Messenger of the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group and Bradley Stoke Green Gym

We’ve seen many highs and lows on the reserve this year. The highs being winning the battle of the balsam, seeing our biodiversity increase, excited kids, the otters, our first swan ringing, the kingfishers, a brown long-eared bat being heard for the first time, being cheered on by the wagging tails and “thank yous” from those passing by, and the really great bunch of volunteers who turn out five times a month in all weathers to make the reserve a better place for everyone. We’ve had more than our fair share of lows though. We lost two group members, Charlotte Edwards and Colin Davies, ash dieback arrived to blight our trees, constant vandalism and graffiti scar the reserve, the lack of noctule bats by the lake and the death of our cygnet Angelo.

The year has been incredibly busy and we’ve seen many changes, including the works currently being undertaken by Wessex Water and, as part of British Science week, holding a Tree Measuring Day. Our committee changed when Andrew Deakin was finally persuaded to join it, Becks Sankey was co-opted to take on the information board project and the knowledgeable David Baker stepped down as chairman and was replaced by Paul Smith. Several of the group have completed the brushcutter training course and are now being sent on a first aid course, although we are hoping they never get to use that training! Bradley Stoke Town Council generously funded the Green Gym with branded polo shirts and high viz vests as well as supporting the conservation group with an annual grant. And, with South Gloucestershire Council and professional ecologist Rupert Higgins, we have agreed a new five-year management plan. Not bad for a group who are all unpaid volunteers, juggling their commitment to the reserve along with family and careers.

More: Green Gym has clocked up nearly 2,000 hours of work on site »

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Green Gym group tackles The Common East

Posted on Thursday 16th November 2017 at 9:55 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Bradley Stoke Green Gym volunteers at The Common East.

By Sara Messenger, Bradley Stoke Green Gym.

If you’ve spotted some strange chaps looking as though they’re auditioning for ‘Poldark: The Later Years’, it was, I suspect, the Bradley Stoke Green Gym, as they have been helping out SGC, Bradley Stoke in Bloom and Buglife.

Although Green Gym took over most of this area from the Patchway Conservation Group, an issue with the insurance supplied by SGC meant that we weren’t covered to work in this area, so until Bradley Stoke Town Council stepped in with a grant, we have been unable to do much this year.

Taking the lead from Alan Titchmarsh’s ‘Say no to the mow’ campaign, the grassy areas have deliberately been allowed to grow to their full potential with just the one hay cut a year, although previously the cuttings have been left where they fell, which isn’t ideal for wildflowers as they like a poorer soil. Buglife have a new campaign called ‘Urban Buzz’ which aims to “create amazing pollinator-rich habitats, creating corridors for bees, wasps, hoverflies, beetles, flies and butterflies to keep Bristol buzzing”, and lured by the magic word ‘free’, we agreed that The Common East was an ideal area for a joint project.

The Green Gym spent two weeks preparing the site by cutting down bramble and grass (and an occasional ground dwelling bee nest) and piling the cuttings ready to be removed. Machinery was bought in to scarify the area and children from a local school seeded it with yellow rattle, a semi parasitic plant that will reduce the amount of grass growing, in preparation for wild flower planting next year.

The pond here is looking very shabby, but as newts have been found in the pond we want to wait until ‘closed season’, which is typically November to January, before we do much tidying up.

More: Green Gym is free and open to everyone »

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